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Loving in Lima

In her new novel, Marie Arana presents <i>Lima Nights</i>, a timeless tale of forbidden romance.

En español | Marie Arana knows books—and more than editing and critiquing them. The Washington Post's retired book review editor's memoir, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, was a 2001 National Book Award finalist.

Her new novel, Lima Nights, opens in the spring of 1986 in the Peruvian city of her birth. The premise is timeless: boy meets girl and then trouble ensues. The "boy" is Carlos Bluhm, 44, married, white, and upper class; the girl is Maria Fernandez, 15, indigenous, and poor.

"It horrified me when I first wrote her age," Arana says. "I stayed away from the page for 24 hours and then I said, 'Okay, if that's what these characters want, let's see what happens.'"

The result? A heart-rending narrative with a finale that's anything but a simple love story.

Exclusive: An extensive Q and A with Marie Arana takes us into the author's private world and her relationship with Lima, the city of her birth.

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